Pro-life students at The College of New Jersey said they watched abortion activists try to destroy their pro-life display six times in just one day last week on campus.
According to Students for Life, the student pro-life club received permission to set up a graveyard of the innocents display last week on campus. The display included colored flags and a sign commemorating the lives lost to abortion.
On Thursday, less than 24 hours after they set up the display, the students said a group of abortion activists vandalized it.
“Our flag display was up for less than 24 hours and during that time there were at least six attempts of vandalism that we know of,” said Grace Gottschling, vice president of the pro-life group. “Our 1st Amendment Rights were ignored and our beliefs belittled. Our group remains confident in our beliefs and we will have more Graveyard of the Innocent displays in the future.”
After vandalizing the display, the group erected their own pro-abortion flag display and sign, which read: “This is a new flag garden representing the people here who believe you have the right to choose, to love, to protest. Hate has no home at TCNJ,” according to images shared by Students for Life.
Because the pro-life students had the area reserved, the university removed the pro-abortion display, according to Students for Life.
A spokesman for the university said they will hold a “formal discussion with all parties involved.”
“The College of New Jersey respects and welcomes a diversity of opinions on campus, which is why the Students for Life Group received permission for their flag display from our division of Student Affairs,” the spokesman said.
In response to the vandalism, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said: “The vandalism at TCNJ is further proof that some students on college campuses cannot even fathom the idea that other people have free-speech rights. Despite the vandalism, TCNJ Students for Life are not letting this deter them from continuing to promote a culture of life on campus.”
The students said they gave their video of the vandalism to campus police.
Students for Life reported a second vandalism last week at Fresno State University. The group said the Fresno State Police Department is investigating the incident that occurred Tuesday. Someone tore down fliers that members of Students for Life were setting up to oppose legislation in California that would mandate abortion drugs to be distributed for free through campus health centers.
According to a LifeNews count, there have been at least six acts of vandalism or other violence against pro-lifers in the past month. Others include incidents at Miami University of Ohio, University of Iowa University of Texas-San Antonio and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
Also this spring in Canada, an abortion activist made a false claim to police about a pro-life advocate assaulting her. She now is facing charges.
Vandalism, violence and other threats against pro-life advocates have been growing, especially on college campuses.
In December, a 15-year-old girl was punched in the face and knocked to the ground by an abortion activist outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Roanoke, Virginia. The assault was captured on video.
In two separate incidents last year, men also allegedly threatened to kill pro-life advocates outside abortion facilities in California and Florida. Last February, violent threats against a California pro-life leader prompted him to cancel a pro-life rally, LifeNews reported.
In the fall, vandals also destroyed pro-life student displays at Northern Kentucky University and St. Louis University. Campus Reform reported two other instances of vandalism in one week: one at the University of Florida and another at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
Students for Life documented dozens of incidents of vandalism in the past five years against its pro-life students groups. An interactive map displays the places where its clubs have been victims of vandalism.
“Other incidences of violence against our group include: Administrators destroying chalkings at Kutztown University, vandals throwing paint on a display at Portland State University, and a display of graduation cords (to highlight ‘missing students’ who were killed by abortion) at University of Miami,” according to Students for Life.